Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:30 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Cincinnati -3½ over Baltimore
1:00 PM EST. Instead of spotting -3 points and some extra juice, we're going to sell a point, take it up to -3½ points and take back a little juice.
The Baltimore Ravens journey to Cincinnati off a win in Week 1, but there was nothing that pretty about it. The Texans actually slightly outgained the Ravens 268 to 265 in total yards, and the Baltimore offense largely looked pedestrian in the first half. Of course, under Todd Monken's new playbook, it might take a little time for things to click. We get that, but that also means that the Baltimore offense might not be as productive in current form. Their defense was good-not-great, letting a young Texans offense hang in the game until Houston's inexperience showed itself later in the contest. The Ravens were clearly the better team, but they were just-as-clearly unrefined.
The Cincinnati offense can claim no such thing. Despite the fact that Joe Burrow had the stat line of a high-school quarterback last week (14-31, 82 yards), this is still an extremely explosive group. Regardless of what happened in a ONE-GAME sample size, we've seen their offense produce at a high level, in some of the most difficult positions. There's a good chance the "real" Bengals show up Sunday, but we've seen a slow start from this team before.
Last year they lost to the Steelers at home in Week 1 and then fell to the Cowboys in Week 2. Like this offseason, an injury kept Burrow out of exhibition games and he entered the first weekend cold.
Like the Bills and Giants and Steelers, the Bengals were embarrassed in their opener. Not only did their offense fail to muster more than 3 points, their defenses permitted 350 total yards to their rival. The Browns even turned it over twice but it made no difference. Burrow was hit 10 times and sacked 2 others with little-to-no-time to find an open receiver all game. It was arguably the worst loss in Burrow's young career, and it had no resemblance to the team we knew in the AFC Conference title game last season. It is therefore time to buy the Benglas.
Still, at home and without a win, we can only get behind the favorite. Baltimore remains a giant question mark. The Ravens have a new play-caller, new WRs, and a QB who missed a lot of games last season while the Bengals are primed for a big response against a beatable team.
Cincinnati -3½ +106 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.12)